Institutions and Organizations

Assistance on an Organizational Scale

The issue of clean and reliable energy access often results in the use of unsafe and unreliable energy sources. In some rural areas, located far from a grid, or throughout lower income populations where energy is too expensive, the use of open flame cookstoves are prevalent. These stoves not only affect the health and well being of women and children, but also inputs harmful emissions into the environment. This specific issue has been recognized by the United Nations as one that should be addressed. In order to do so the Global Clean Cooking Alliance was created.

Global Clean Cooking Alliance

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is an initiative created by the United Nations Foundation established in 2010 with the aim of creating a more inclusive and clean cookstove industry. In order to do so, the alliance works with global partners to increase demand, investing in clean cookstove businesses and ensuring the industry is successful.

The Alliance is a direct reaction by the United Nations about the current issue of polluting cookstoves that are relied on by 3 billion people each day. Specifically the sectors they hope to address includes the environment, health and safety. Their three main cores include:

  1. Increase consumer demand for clean cookstoves
  2. Investment in these technologies and improvements
  3. Supporting policies and sharing data that support these changes

Funding for this alliance comes from grants, governments, corporations, and individuals. While this initiative works globally, focus remains on several less developed and developing countries; Uganda, Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya and Nigeria. In addition to working on the ground level with non governmental organizations, the Alliance provides fact sheets and research articles to better spread awareness and offer solutions. Though there have been some research on the health effects of these indoor cookstoves, the alliance has funded several larger research studies to increase the awareness of how detrimental this issue is in relation to human and environmental health.

How sustainable is this Initiative?

Our definition:

Something is sustainable if it’s initiatives, actions or impacts serve to meet the social and economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own through:

  1. reducing resource use, encouraging re-use, and minimizing waste while protecting and restoring the health of natural systems and biodiversity, reducing pollution, and addressing global climate change
  2. equitable economic development that empowers people to meet their own needs rather than exploiting them
  3. an elevated and dignified standard of human well-being for all people including but not limited to improved health and access to basic human rights.

Best practices for meeting these objectives include using an inclusive, transparent process; that employs systems thinking; encourages individual action; and assessment using measurable indicators.

The Global Clean Cooking Alliance works hard to meet the social and economic needs of the present by providing healthier alternatives. Additionally, the initiative ensures that people can save money with cheaper or free cookstoves. The creation of these alternative stoves does require certain use of resources which compromises the future to an extent. However, these alternatives are expected to last well into the future and can be used by future generations.

By calling for changes to current stove use and design, the initiative reduces resource use, specifically lumber. The Alliance also encourages re-use by creating long lasting products. The actions also protect health of natural systems, not restoring the health, but reducing pollution and somewhat addresses global climate change.

The initiative, and specifically the focus on investment, gives an opportunity for some to develop economically. Additionally, the health of women and children is increased.

I am unsure if the initiative is inclusive or transparent but I am certain that it does encourage individual and group action.